A host of Scottish businesses are celebrating after taking home awards at the 2019 Scottish Rural Awards last night (Thursday).
Veteran broadcaster and Deacon Blue drummer, Dougie Vipond took to the stage as compere for the evening, hosting over 450 guests and presenting two awards in each of the 11 open categories – a runner-up and overall winner.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes from up and down the country were represented at the awards. Winners included Ayrshire farmers Mossgiel Farm, who took home first prize in the Agriculture category and Macphie, who won the Rural Employer category.
There were also wins for GlenWyvis Distillery (Artisan Drink), eco warriors KIMO UK (Conservation & the Environment) and North Coast 500 (Rural Tourism category).
The judging panel praised businesses that showed they could attract people to remote places, businesses that were helping their local area, and businesses that were ethical and sustainable.
The Scottish Rural Awards are the ultimate benchmark of success in Scotland’s countryside, highlighting the enterprise, skill and innovation of those who live and work in rural areas.
Last night’s event, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, is the culmination of a fifth year of partnership between Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, in association with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The awards are backed by category sponsors including ArdMoor, Chiene + Tait and Gillespie MacAndrew.
Nominations for the 2019 Scottish Rural Awards officially launched at the beginning of July 2018, with over 200 entries received before the closing date at the end of October 2018. Businesses were able to self-nominate, or be nominated by someone else – a friend, family member, customer or member of the public.
Finalists in each of the open categories, which encompass every aspect of rural life, from agriculture and food production, to conservation, education and tourism, were announced in December 2018.
Those who have made special contributions to the Scottish countryside were honoured with two separate accolades last night – the Rural Hero Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard Bath, editor of Scottish Field, commented: ‘More than ever before, Scotland’s rural communities are displaying a quite remarkable amount of energy, innovation and imagination as they diversify existing businesses and create new and exciting opportunities from scratch. As a magazine we are constantly writing about the rural entrepreneurs who are bringing wealth and jobs to the countryside, so it’s exciting for us to be able to honour the men and women who are doing so much to make the economy of rural Scotland a true success story.’
Jamie Stewart, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, added: ‘Land-based businesses contribute over £2billion to the Scottish economy. Despite the multiple challenges they face, they are hugely valuable brand ambassadors for Scotland, and many provide vital support to their local communities. These awards give Scotland a chance to recognise the resilience, innovation and contribution that rurally-based people and businesses make to its success.’
Browse the full list of Scottish Rural Awards winners at www.scottishruralawards.org.